Naomi Osaka continues to use her platform to bring awareness to racial inequality. On Monday night, the tennis star donned a mask before and after her first-round US Open match that honored Breonna Taylor, a Black woman shot and killed by the police in Louisville, Kentucky earlier this year. Taylor’s case has been on the forefront of the equality movement, as athletes have called for the officers responsible for her shooting and death to be arrested.
Osaka, the No. 4 seed at the US Open, wore the mask before match against Misaki Doi and was wearing it again for her post-match interview. Osaka beat No. 81 Doi, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.
Osaka brought seven masks to the tournament, each one honoring a victim of racial inequality or police brutality.
“It’s quite sad that seven masks isn’t enough for the amount of names, so hopefully I’ll get to the finals so you can see all of them,” Osaka said.
The 2018 US Open champion joined many athletes last week in saying she would not participate in her scheduled match in the Western & Southern Open in protest of police shooting Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot in the back seven times by police in Wisconsin.
After the Milwaukee Bucks did not show up for their playoff games last week, teams across all sports followed their lead, asking leagues and the general public to do more in the fight for racial equality. Osaka did decide to play in the Western & Southern Open after speaking to tournament organizers. The tournament decided to take a day off to bring attention to the issues at hand.